Case Number 18500: Small Claims Court


Image Entertainment // 2009 // 525 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 12th, 2010

The Charge

"If there's somebody here can you please play with my hair?"

The Case

I have a difficult time keeping track of all these paranormal hunter shows. They all seem to involve some motivated folks driving around in vans, setting up equipment likely purchased at their local Circuit City store closing, hanging around some old, creepy buildings at night and generally freaking each other out.

This being the fifth season of SyFy's big hit Ghost Hunters, I reckon they've been at this for a good while, and though this is my first encounter with their ectoplasmic shenanigans, it's obvious there's a game-plan they follow from show to show: learn about a freaky place, jump in their van, interview creeped-out people associated with the supposedly haunted locale, do their equipment set-up, listen for weird sounds and watch for disturbances in their infrared cameras, then cough up their findings to the interested parties. This batch of Season Five episodes finds the Ghost Hunters -- plumbers by day, spectral wranglers by night -- fanning out to such cursed places like the Betsy Ross House, Belcourt Castle, Essex Country Hospital, Thornbury Farm, Spalding Inn, the Edith Wharton Estate, Star Island (a shout-out to Portsmouth, NH!) and plenty more spirit-infested zip codes.

Their results? Mixed. With so many of these shows out tracking down all this paranormal malfeasance the obvious question pops up: Where are the ghosts? Look, I'll spoil this for you right away, and say that, no, the nagging question of the afterlife isn't once-and-for-all laid to rest (so to speak).

However, these guys manage to catch a few oddities on video. There's that odd heat signature in the corner, those footstep sounds from the attic, mysterious opening doors, weirdo echoes in the audio recordings and, my favorite, the flashlight that turns on and off on command.

Offsetting some of these marginally cool enigmas is the usual selection of unconvincing-bordering-on-laughable "activity." The faintest of sounds (in a dumpy, antique house, natch), for example, or a gently shaking bed the investigators insist is vibrating and one of the girls claiming a ghost is pawing at her hair. The reanimated specter of a baboon perhaps?

Fans of the genre will find fun here, regardless of the evidence or lack thereof. The investigators as characters are eccentric enough and the different venues the Ghost Hunters check out are genuinely cool.

The DVDs feature 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers and a 2.0 stere mixes. Deleted scenes are it for extras. The packaging, however, might be the worst I've ever dealt with. There are only three discs, but the case is a big fat one that went out of style almost a decade ago; the DVDs are stacked on each other, held together by a clumsy plastic holder that is a profound pain-in-the-balls to negotiate.

The Verdict

Not Guilty, I guess, though I find the case a whole lot more terrifying.

Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 525 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted Scenes

* IMDb